Principles That Guide WSOU Programming

These Principles are designed to aid WSOU's student management board, as well as the entire station's staff, as to what is and isn't appropriate to air on 89.5 FM.  These principles were developed based upon FCC regulations, station history, current and past formats, and campus community input.  Our guidelines are also informed by experience and the knowledge that to those unaccustomed to loud rock formats, WSOU's music might sound scary and that the very nature of hard rock music might strike some as anti-religious. In fact, all songs on WSOU are screened for content to ensure that lyrics do not undermine the mission and values of Seton Hall University or the Catholic Church.

As one of the nation's premiere college radio stations, WSOU strives to follow professional practices and industry-standard operating procedures in its daily operation.  This cultural commitment to individual and organizational excellence, represented by the station's emphasis on student management coupled with an ethos of student accountability, is a major factor in WSOU's decades-long national reputation for excellence and why the station has produced thousands of highly successful alumni.  The station doesn't simply have guiding principles, it embraces and practices them.

When it comes to on-air programming, WSOU is guided by these regulations and principles

  1. FCC Regulations Regarding Obscene, Indecent and Profane Broadcasts:

  2. University Regulations

    As a member of the Seton Hall University community, WSOU is required to abide by all existing University Policies and Regulations, including the Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation, Policy Against Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Retaliation, Employee Handbook, Student Handbook, Student Code of Conduct and Title IX, as well as the Policies and Regulations established by the College of Communication and the Arts.  In addition, the station is also regulated by the “WSOU Station Handbook,” which outlines the station's governance policies, disciplinary policies, student manager and staff responsibilities, code of conduct, and more.  Furthermore, by law WSOU is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and all pertaining local, state and federal laws.

    WSOU is also subjected to two unique University regulations.  The first concerns WSOU's academic training and programming.  WSOU is required to provide students with an experience that incorporates technology and Catholic values to enhance student life and learning.  WSOU must also consider Catholic values when selecting and approving music, specialty shows, public affairs, and community programming.  While not exclusive to WSOU, the second unique regulation is the station's approach to discipline, which is also Catholic in nature.  The purpose of WSOU's disciplinary policies is not exclusively punishment, but to help guide students back to “the right path.”  The station accepts that students will make mistakes.  The station also accepts it has a responsibility to help students learn from their errors in order to shape them into true servant-leaders and productive members of society.

  3. The Catholic Principles that Guide WSOU

    Three basic principles, positively stated, is the aim of WSOU in all activities and sponsored events.First, a Catholic university treasures, protects and fosters the love of God, including keeping the sacredness of God's name and the worship of God. The University's and, therefore WSOU's commitment to this supreme principle guides all its activities and sponsorships. Committing itself to such, WSOU simultaneously commits itself to avoid all material, in either its programming or sponsored activities, which would demote God and/or encourage, if only by implication, the glorification or the worship of Satan or any other occult practice. Likewise, it has no place for anti-religious material.

    Related to the love of God, a Catholic university treasures, protects and fosters the dignity of every human person, each of whom has been made in God's image. Thus, committed to the dignity of each person means loving, honoring, and respecting one's neighbor. Committed to such, WSOU simultaneously commits itself to avoid all material, in either its programming or sponsored activities, which would demote the dignity of the human person, either with reference to individuals or groups. This likewise entails careful avoidance of gratuitous descriptions of violence and/or sexually explicit realities, in words, images, and so on.

    Third, as a radio station of a Catholic university WSOU is committed to be a peacemaker in our community. Committing itself to peacemaking, WSOU simultaneously commits itself to avoid, in words, images, sponsored activities or any other means, material that promotes violence toward, aggression against, or hatred of any group of persons. 

    These three principles, in short, summarize the Ten Commandments which serve as the baseline of Christian action. Moreover, the same is expressly summarized by Christ (Mt. 22:36-40).

    Recognizing its historical influence and its unique position to broadcast in the largest radio market in North America, WSOU acknowledges its role in not participating in or advancing the cause of any material or activities against its principles outlined above. Thus, WSOU is a station that continues to find and promote new talent in its various programs, it would never seek to promote, either in intention or by providing essential material resources, a group or band that contradicts these stated Catholic values. 

    Again, recognizing the historical success and relevance of the WSOU, WSOU recognizes its role in not leading others, either by attitude or behavior, to do evil. As such, WSOU will endeavor to not do anything that could be reasonably misunderstood to be in violation of its stated Catholic principles. 

    Utilizing the Catholic principles outlined above, WSOU's current Music Selection Guidelines understand that the three positive principles articulated above serve as the genesis of the contraband material listed in its previous iterations. By focusing on those critical principles, values, and requisite perception training, the previous iterations specific unacceptable words and phrases can be understood in their positive and more complete context.

  4. Catholic Perspectives and Perception Training

    The following two distinct aspects make certain that the WSOU policy is both active and effective and indicates Seton Hall University's enduring identity and mission.

    First, the policy articulates those principles, which constitute the heart of a Catholic university, and therefore help to guide and govern WSOU's activities. The articulation of such principles includes those goods and values a Catholic university treasures, protects and promotes. It is these realities which guide all other activities. To be practical help, the policy indicates those words and actions that would constitute a violation of those principles that Seton Hall University treasures, seeks to protect and promote. While WSOU is not exclusively a religious or Catholic radio station in its programming, it commits itself as part of Seton Hall's mission never to contradict or contravene, in word or action, those positive goods and values treasured by the University.

    The second thing the policy describes is the process by which those working at WSOU foster their own ability to perceive, in practical and concrete ways, those sorts of activities that would (or would not) be in violation of Seton Hall's guiding principles. This “training in perception” constitutes the University's, and more particularly, WSOU's on-going training carried out within the station, though certainly not excluding the participation of other members of the University. Furthermore, this perception training becomes a way the University can fulfill its Catholic mission, namely by inculcating a perception of how in daily, concrete, and practical ways the Catholic identity of the University guides the work of WSOU. It is a sharing of its own values with its students. This perception training serves a further purpose for students working at WSOU. Because the students who train at WSOU go on to work in the broadcast industry after graduation, this perception training fosters in WSOU's graduates an essential professional skill. Upon graduation, these young professionals will be exposed to a host of various corporations with their own identities, principles, and rules. These graduates will already have learned at WSOU the critical skill of learning to discern in their words and actions those activities which both promote or take away from their future employers' principles.

    Implementation of, and adherence to, the guidelines shall be made by the WSOU student management board and it shall be their responsibility to properly pass judgment upon bands, songs and lyrics and to be prepared to explain and defend to the University any specific decision that is called into questioned. As with all station matters, consultation will be made by the student management board to the General Manager as necessary.